Oktoberfest is that holiday where everyone is suddenly German, wearing lederhosen, and chugging beer. It is considered the world’s largest Volksfest, aka “beer festival and traveling funfair.” It is celebrated all over the world, but originated in Munich, Germany and lasts for 16 days since Germans don’t mess around. It typically goes from mid-September to the first weekend in October. My office is celebrating our own version of Oktoberfest on Friday, so I thought this week was the perfect time to bring in homemade pretzels. This recipe is from my SHBFF (aka Statehouse BFF) and they are her thing. Cookies are my thing and pretzels are hers.
Oktoberfest practice at Bru Burger this weekend – the Rathskeller was closed for a wedding. The outrage! My ginger BFF in DC – looking fabulous in plaid and my big hair, don’t care.
I also ordered the kids version of lederhosen on Amazon Prime for the office party, so let’s pray the girls’ size 12 fits. I originally searched women’s lederhosen but found some interesting (think RAUNCHY) attire. That and my budget was $30.
Since I have some German in me on both sides (my grandfather’s name was Otto. Hello!), I thought I would provide a little history lesson via Wikipedia. Not a reliable source, but I did some additional googling, so I feel good about it. Besides, if all else fails, yell ‘”Volksfest” the next time you’re drinking with friends.
“Oktoberfest was used as part of Nazi propaganda. In 1933, Jews were forbidden to work on the Wiesn. Two years later, the Oktoberfest’s 125th anniversary was celebrated with all the frills. The main event was a big parade, with the slogan “proud city – cheerful country” that was meant to show the alleged overcoming of differences between social classes, and can be seen as an example of the regime’s consolidation of power. During WWII, from 1939 to 1945, Oktoberfest was not celebrated.”
My adorable grandfather Otto, who passed away at the age of 98. He would have been 109 on October 10th. He ate ice cream every night before bed, he was an epic pancake artist, and he was the BEST Scrabble player I have ever met.
I was a Political Science/History major and I took every Holocaust class that IU offered. It’s a fascinating topic and it is important to continually learn from the mistakes, horrors, and tragedies of the past. I read Anne Frank more times than I can remember in elementary and middle school and I am lucky to have a dad that took me to DC every summer to explore the museums. Each time I went to the Holocaust Museum, I got something different out of each visit. It is built so that if you can see over the barricade walls of the exhibits, the museum assumes you are old enough and mature enough to process the content. The piles and piles of shoes taken from concentration camp prisoners will haunt me for the rest of my life.
On a happier note, I’ll share a bit about my ginger friend and the source of this recipe. She was a Senate intern when I worked in the Lt. Governor’s Office and she would come hang out with me after five each day when she was done with her work. It was BFF time and the Lt. Governor considered her part of the office. She would pull up a chair next to my desk and we would laugh like nobody’s business. There was a day where she forgot to eat breakfast and sat chilling in our office with a box of Honey Nut Cheerios like ‘Nothing to see here, Statehouse friends. I’m having a snack.’ Now she lives in DC and we send each other random quotes, Jeopardy updates, and listen to each other rant about life’s ups and downs on a daily basis. Everyone needs a SHBFF and I am lucky I found mine.
SHBFF HOMEMADE PRETZELS
4 cups of flour
1 tsp salt
1 TBs of yeast
1 TBs of sugar
1 1/2 cups of hot water
Mix every thing together, except the flour. Let the yeast mixture rise for a few minutes.
Then pour into the four cups of flour, knead until soft. Let rise on counter for about half an hour.
Knead into a log and cut in evenly (should make about 20 or so) then roll into pretzel shape or whatever form you choose.
Preheat oven to 425.
Grease pan. Put pretzels on pan and then brush an egg wash (one egg, one tbs of water) over each pretzel. Sprinkle kosher salt on top.
Bake for about 10-13 minutes or until golden brown.
*Note: the SHBFF prefers a baking soda wash (1 tbsp of baking soda + water), but I did the traditional egg wash + sea salt. She also forgot the hot water part in the recipe when she sent it to me, but luckily I have done this baking thing before and did not sit there for hours waiting for the yeast to do its magic. haha. She is always keeping me on my toes!